One of the most interesting developments in the fashion industry is the luxury market’s embrace of streetwear culture in recent years.
Products like the sneaker or the baseball hat, once seen as too juvenile for fashion houses, are no longer off-limits. Indeed, even the venerable Louis Vuitton name is not immune to its lure.
For Fall Winter 2019, Louis Vuitton presents this pragmatic approach to fashion through the Staples Edition. The essentials of a man’s wardrobe – denim jeans, shirts, jackets – are reimagined through the vision of Virgil Abloh.
Abloh himself represents the current state of the industry. Once Kanye West’s creative director, he was appointed Louis Vuitton’s artistic director for menswear last year. To call it a rags to riches story is an insult to his established body of work, but Abloh’s appointment definitely challenges distinctions between urban and luxury.
Abloh’s design edge is unmistakable in this collection. In most of the pants, the silhouettes are loose with fabric pooling just a tad around the ankles. Utility shirts are adorned with pockets, with the additional unexpected detail of a clipped collar.
But it is not just Abloh’s fingerprints that are all over the Staples Edition. Even with subdued branding like the use of a black monogram against black fabric, the Louis Vuitton aesthetic is very much present.
In fact, one of the standouts in the Staples collection is the black ensemble. Composed of a black shirt, black blazer, and black trousers, it relies on fit and construction for impact. A single piece of hardware imprinted with the Louis Vuitton name is the only tangible reminder of its origins. And yet, it’s Louis Vuitton-ness is still palpable.
It is the blend of contemporary design and impeccable construction techniques honed over generations that allow the Staples collection to straddle the lines of freshness and familiarity.
Giancarla Aritao, Mantle's style correspondent, is wife to Lawrence and mom to Hannah, 7, and Rafael, 4. She’s a homeschooler and works as a writer.